Thursday, December 30, 2004

Please donate money to the relief and rehabilitation efforts to help survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunamis!

go here
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Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Regarding the natural disaster that is the earthquake/tsunami, some ignorrant bastard had the nerve to say, "that's what happens when people make their homes out of mud and sticks."

Glad to see racism is alive and doing well...disturbingly shagrined when I saw less "primitive" structures demolished...more later...to the guy at the bar..fuck you.

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When planned hiatus goes on hiatus you have 2X the delay without being 3X dope...

Some live D'angelo streams at okayplayer...go now...

A disturbing, haunting, and powerful slideshow of the Tsunami/Earthquake tragedy...

and some other food for thought (via washingtonpost via promethus6:

The Next Economy

By Robert J. Samuelson

Wednesday, December 29, 2004; Page A19

We are undergoing a profound economic transformation that is barely recognized. This quiet upheaval does not originate in some breathtaking technology but rather in the fading power of forces that have shaped American prosperity for decades and, in some cases, since World War II. As their influence diminishes, the economy will depend increasingly on new patterns of spending and investment that are still only dimly apparent. It is unclear whether these will deliver superior increases in living standards and personal security. What is clear is that the old economic order is passing.

By any historical standard, the record of these decades -- despite flaws -- is remarkable. Per capita income (average income per person) is now $40,000, triple the level of 60 years ago. Only a few of the 10 recessions since 1945 have been deep. In the same period, unemployment averaged 5.9 percent. The worst year was 9.7 percent in 1982. There was nothing like the 18 percent of the 1930s. Prosperity has become the norm. Poverty and unemployment are the exceptions.

But the old order is slowly crumbling. Here are four decisive changes:

• The economy is bound to lose the stimulus of rising consumer debt. Household debt -- everything from home mortgages to credit cards -- now totals about $10 trillion, or roughly 115 percent of personal disposable income. In 1945, debt was about 20 percent of disposable income. For six decades, consumer debt and spending have risen faster than income. Home mortgages, auto loans and store credit all became more available. In 1940, the homeownership rate was 44 percent; now it's 69 percent. But debt can't permanently rise faster than income, and we're approaching a turning point. As aging baby boomers repay mortgages and save for retirement, debt burdens may drop. The implication: weaker consumer spending.

• The benefits from defeating double-digit inflation are fading. Remember, in 1979, inflation peaked at 13 percent; now it's 1 to 3 percent, depending on the measure. The steep decline led to big drops in interest rates and big increases in stock prices (as interest rates fell, money shifted to stocks). Stocks are 12 times their 1982 level. Lower interest rates and higher stock prices encouraged borrowing and spending. But these are one-time stimulants. Mortgage rates can't again fall from 15 percent (1982) to today's 5.7 percent. Nor will stocks soon rise twelvefold. The implication: again, weaker consumer spending.

• The welfare state is growing costlier. Since the 1930s, it has expanded rapidly -- for the elderly (Social Security, Medicare), the poor (Medicaid, food stamps) and students (Pell grants). In 2003, federal welfare spending totaled $1.4 trillion. But all these benefits didn't raise taxes significantly, because lower defense spending covered most costs. In 1954, defense accounted for 70 percent of federal spending and "human resources" (aka welfare), 19 percent. By 2003, defense was 19 percent and human resources took 66 percent. Aging baby boomers and higher defense spending now doom this pleasant substitution. Paying for future benefits will require higher taxes, bigger budget deficits or deep cuts in other programs. All could hurt economic growth.

• The global trading system has become less cohesive and more threatening. Until 15 years ago, the major trading partners (the United States, Europe and Japan) were political and military allies. The end of the Cold War and the addition of China, India and the former Soviet Union to the trading system have changed that. India, China and the former Soviet bloc have also effectively doubled the global labor force, from 1.5 billion to 3 billion workers, estimates Harvard economist Richard Freeman. Global markets are more competitive; the Internet -- all modern telecommunications -- means some service jobs can be "outsourced" abroad. China and other Asian countries target the U.S. market with their exports by fixing their exchange rates.

Taken at face value, these are sobering developments. The great workhorse of the U.S. economy -- consumer spending -- will slow. Foreign competition will intensify. Trade agreements, with more countries and fewer alliances, will be harder to reach. And the costs of government will mount.

There are also global implications. The slow-growing European and Japanese economies depend critically on exports. Until now, that demand has come heavily from the United States, which will run an estimated current account deficit of $660 billion in 2004. But if American consumers become less spendthrift -- because debts are high, taxes rise or benefits are cut -- there will be an ominous collision. Diminished demand from Europe, Japan and the United States will meet rising supply from China, India and other developing countries. This would be a formula for downward pressure on prices, wages and profits -- and upward pressure on unemployment and protectionism.

It need not be. China and India are not just export platforms. Billions of people remain to be lifted out of poverty in these countries and in Latin America and Africa. Ideally, their demands -- for raw materials, for technology -- could strengthen world trade and reduce reliance on America's outsize deficits. If so, exports (and manufacturing) could become the U.S. economy's next great growth sector. Already, the dollar has depreciated 15 percent since early 2002; that makes U.S. exports more price-competitive.

What's at issue is the next decade, not the next year. We know that the U.S. economy is resilient and innovative -- and that Americans are generally optimistic. People seek out new opportunities; they adapt to change. These qualities are enduring engines for growth. But they will also increasingly have to contend with new and powerful forces that may hold us back.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sex Tape on Internet Roils Indian Culture


NEW DELHI (AP) -- It was a private act of two hormone-charged teenagers that lasted 2 minutes and 37 seconds on digital video.

But offered for sale on the Internet, the fuzzy images of the 17-year-old girl having oral sex with her high school sweetheart has sent shock waves through urban India, exposing the growing friction between the conservative middle class, its increasingly Westernized progeny and modern technology.

``It came to me as a surprise that kids are having sex so soon,'' Barkha Dutt, who hosts the country's most popular television talk show on social issues, said in an interview. ``Even we are not aware of how much things have changed.''

India may be the birthplace of Kama Sutra, the 6th century sex manual, but sex today is a generally taboo subject. Premarital sex is not widely condoned, and public displays of affection draw frowns.

Caught in the scandal's stinging sweep is Avnish Bajaj, the Indian-born American who heads eBay's Indian subsidiary Baazee.com, where the video clip -- shot by the schoolboy himself using his cell phone camera -- was put up for sale.

Arrested last week under an ambiguous Indian law on cyber porn, Bajaj was freed after posting bail Tuesday, but his U.S. passport remained confiscated.

Bajaj's arrest triggered a diplomatic spat between the United States and India and a threat by eBay executives to reconsider doing business in a country that would toss one of their top managers in jail as a scapegoat.

``This incident has certainly given us pause and raises concerns about the safeguards that are in place for businesses operating in India,'' said Henry Gomez, an eBay vice president in the United States.

``This situation is one of concern at highest levels of the U.S. government,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington.

Bajaj set up Baazee.com in 2000 and sold it to San Jose, Calif.-based eBay, the Internet's leading auction company, for about $50 million in June. The Harvard-educated executive has since headed the Bombay-based subsidiary.

The sex clip was recorded weeks ago and passed on by the bragging schoolboy to three of his friends and eventually made its way to video disc sellers in New Delhi. It did not draw much attention until an engineering student at a prestigious Indian college listed it for sale on Baazee.com.

Now the girl's parents have sent her off to Canada. The 17-year-old boy, the son of an affluent businessman, is now in a juvenile detention center. He went to Nepal to escape the media glare and was arrested at the airport when he returned to the capital on Sunday. A judge on Tuesday ordered him held until Jan. 4 for questioning to try to determine how the video clip reached the man who tried to sell it.

The controversy over the clip -- it's the talk of urban India, an obsession of newspapers and talk shows -- is typical of a society in transition, said Dr. Ranjana Kumari, the director of the think tank Center for Social Research.

India's recent economic boom has created unimaginable wealth among the tech-savvy urban population, who live in a globalized world dominated by the Internet, international brands and Western lifestyle with its relatively liberal sexual values.

Kumari says urban India is being pulled apart by these new values and its own centuries-old social conservatism.

``It is this transition which is resulting in a lot of confusion,'' Kumari said.

Observers like Kumari think a variety of people share the blame for grossly amplifying this sex scandal -- including the authorities who arrested Bajaj and the boy, who remains unidentified because of his age; the teenagers' parents, who weren't aware of their children's activities; and teachers, for sidestepping sex education in schools.

Many are outraged by the arrest of the schoolboy, who along with the girl attended one of the capital's best known private schools, The Delhi Public School.

``What are we trying to say here?'' asked Dutt. ``What do we believe is wrong? Was it that he had sex? Was it that he sent out the clip? Which part is the disturbing part?''

Of greater concern to many in the business community is Bajaj's arrest under the Information Technology Act of 2000. The law makes a criminal offense of ``publishing, transmitting, or causing to publish any information in electronic form, which is obscene.'' But it also says an Internet provider or Web site manager can't be held responsible if he acted diligently to remedy an electronic offense after learning of it.

Baazee.com maintains it yanked the sex video listing as soon as customer service managers noticed it, and Bajaj had traveled to New Delhi to cooperate with authorities.

Pawan Duggal, a cyberlaw expert, said Bajaj's arrest has serious implications, especially when Internet usage in the country is rapidly growing and foreign investors are increasingly looking to India for e-commerce opportunities.

``Ultimately we have to see bigger picture. We want to increase Internet penetration. All this will only happen if you allow service providers the freedom,'' he said. ``The law needs to be more industry friendly and more pragmatic.''


(5) comments

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mission Rock Wins!!!!!

In a landslide with no need for a recount Mission Rock wins.
Now the easy part...securing your tickets online.

I'd recommend ordering asap to assure you get the pre sale price.

You Can Order Here

Once you've ordered your tix let us know via the comments section so we can coordinate the mass exodus to Mission Rock and ensure we catch the early open bar.

You can leave comments by:

going to the bottom of this post
clicking on comment,
allowing the page to refresh,
scrolling down,
clicking post comment,
clicking "Or Post Anonymously"
and posting your comment.

As always, the sooner the better. So get on it. Anyone and everyone is welcome to report to our apt, drink, get ready, drink, and vavooom to Mission Rock with us.

For all the newcomers that missed the exiting information and dialogue you can scroll down to the previous post to get caught up.

(12) comments

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

NYE Options...

In my search to accomodate us for NYE here are the best two options I've found assuming:

- There is a desire to celebrate in SF
- We have a large group to accomodate
- No one is willing to spend $100 - 150 at the door that night
- Being together is more important than being Very Important Puppies

Since there are several groups I'm trying to coordinate, a mass mail would have been very messy, confusing, and counter-productive. So in order to make sure your voice is heard but you don't have 100 messages in your inbox you can use my blog to post your thoughts at the end of this entry. Here's how:

Please evaluate and post your vote/comment or both by:

going to the bottom of this post
clicking on comment,
allowing the page to refresh,
scrolling down,
clicking post comment,
clicking "Or Post Anonymously"
and posting your preference/concerns/astrological sign.

Option 1 -

Mission Rock/Sno Drift


Pre Sale Prices are $50 per person (VIP is $100)
Early open bar from 8pm - 10pm
Fee also allows entrance into Sno Drift (2 blocks away)
Bart to Muni accessible
Parking readily available if you drive
Solid Mainstream KMEL dj's
Large venue
Several Music Room/Areas emphasis on Hip Hop
Indoor/Outdoor areas
Several Bars
We can order Pre Sale tix online
Open till 5am


Should be a predominantly 25 and under crowd
Less diversity of music
If we use public transport we have to transfer from Bart to Muni
Sno Drift is 2 industrial blocks away (not as close as billed but not necessarily a hike either)
It's in SF but in the industrial area
If you get there late the line is ridiculously long
Strict Dress Code

more info

Option 2

Remedy @ the DNA lounge


Pre Sale tix are $25
Remedy has an excellent reputation for good parties
Diverse crowd
Diverse music (emphasis on house and soul, but there is a hip hop room)
Can get there via Bart and a short walk
If we meet up early there's plenty of bars nearby
Lax dress code
Located in a very busy and bustling area = people, city life, etc
Shorter lines
Can order tix online
Open till 6am

Venue isn't small but isn't as big as Mission Rock (expect it to be crowded, still should have room to dance)
Less emphasis on hip hop
Parking is much harder

more info

(19) comments

Thursday, December 02, 2004

explanation (via can't stop)

an RBL Glossy so get on it...

via 1115
try not fucking with these cats

and maybe just fool with them, if possible...
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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

World AIDS Day...

full article (via suburbs are killing us)

"The situation the world now faces in China, India, Russia and its surrounding countries "bears alarming similarities to the situation ... faced 20 years ago in Africa," with the HIV/AIDS rate coming "perilously close to a tipping point,"


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